Good: GEN-CON!!! An amazing return to feeling like ~2014-2019 Gen-Con again. Last year was a fun aberration but I am glad the big-time feeling is back. The Auction returning is my #1 favorite thing about the year.
Bad: Sounds like the vaccine line was a rare organizational misstep, though having it open Monday and Tuesday certainly must have helped. Other than that and my next section I really have no complaints. Besides having been so busy that I only spent $15 total inside the confines of the convention center, and that was spread over four purchases!
Ugly: Someone I work with at the convention ended up in the hospital from the aforementioned I-65 shutdown accident, though fortunately seems like it will be a brief stay. No telling what might have happened to the stuff in his vehicle yet, though.
Good: Auction was a lot of fun! Played some D&D in person. Did lots of shopping.
Bad: Masks, made it hard to hear the DM and players, seemed pointless when you would walk out in the hall and half the people had taken them off.
Ugly: Two traffic accidents on the way to the con added about 2 hours. Hope everyone was okay.
Good: Gaming with friends, especially Axis and Allies. Smorey swamp great as always
Bad: Things really seemed to die out a lot earlier this year. Felt like the ICC was a ghost town after about 7 pm. Also, restaurants are still recovering from COVID.
Ugly: Masks and vaccines. Whole thing was a joke, very uncomfortable and on the whole, useless. A small number of us commented that the vaccine check lines would be a cluster, only to have mods ensure that it would work flawlessly. Guess what - it was a cluster Wednesday like we told you. Return to sanity in 2023.
Just one good I wanted to bring up: Despite all the worries about the forecasts, it barely rained!
No, the weather wasn't perfect by any stretch. It was steam-oven hot in the afternoons and still sticky into the evenings. But we never got huge, long thunderstorms with lightning.
Good: Inside the convention center, things went well for me. The dealer's hall was easier to navigate in terms of crowds. I didn't have a problem getting the wristband, but I came Wednesday early afternoon.
Bad and Ugly: The noise near the hotels. There was too much loud noise played late into the night to allow many people to get any sleep. Others that I spoke to in my hotel had the same complaint. The cars and bikes with noise amplifying mufflers made matters worse.
Good: The auction was back, with TOVA and Josh. Great fun! Did a bunch of fun demos with my kids this year. Starship Horizons is a neat concept with a great vision of what they want to provide.
Bad:Starship Horizons was not ready for the show. It really should have been mentioned in the event description that they were beta testing (which they openly said in-person). Lots of technical issues caused delays and resets, keeping us from getting into the RP side of things. All at a premium price.
Ugly: I'm not able to handle crowds like I used to. I think that hit me the hardest in the consignment store on Friday. You basically couldn't move forward or back due to the packed aisles.
The Good: GenCon was much more lively and interactive this year. I think extending vendor/demo booths into the large hall was a great idea. The auction was back which is always a great time. 50K attendance seems to be a sweet spot for Indi where there are enough resources but still small enough to have a community feeling.
The Bad: the vaccine check on Wednesday got out of hand real fast to the point where they closed the line for 30min which made things worse. The noise level of the smaller rooms made things difficult to the point of frustration. Board games dominated the consignment store space, which is likely a result of covid purchases being sold off. Nothing they can really do about it but I hope next year things are thinned out abit. Giant oversized backpacks and fully armored (childless) battle strollers made a comeback being wielded by insufficiently thoughtless people on the vendor floor, I really wish GenCon would get a handle on this.
The Ugly: Masks... I understand the position GenCon backed themselves into and the need to look like they are doing something given their operating agenda. While good on paper, in practice the mandate broke down to be nothing more than hypocrisy theater. Many have already posted about some of the absurdity the difference 10ft makes to enforcement, how you could sit in a crowded room without a mask as long as you're eating, or walking by the lounge and seeing people without masks (not eating) in front of GenCon staff and no enforcement being applied. I do not have an answer on how this could have been rolled out better, it was just disheartening seeing how things played out in practice.
Bad- The consessions closing at Lucas at 6pm, but gaming going on until much much later than that.
The vast amount of no show players for our events. As an EO, when events sell out in wish lists and then none of the players show, it is very frustrating.
Good: all the games, big attendance
Bad: Too many restaurants seemingly short on staff or not prepared. How do you run out of pizza dough on Thursday? Or an air conditioner repair happening Thursday and Friday? Meh...
Ugly: Not being able to hear people through their masks. Hoping next year things will be back to 2019 normal.
The Good: Scooters! Being at Staybridge, nursing a chronic bad leg, and doing so in the heat
and humidity would have been doable, but highly uncomfortable and time consuming to get to the Con Center
or many other places.
Also good: The street party, my Cthulhu(Thanks Frank!) and Pathfinder games. Also
had a great time meeting folks from all over in the games and at bars and restaurants.
The Bad: Seems many restaurants were not prepared, or no longer existed since Covid struck.
I'll keep my glass half full on this one, in hopes that as we move along, places will pick up
on the vibe bigtime, like Scotty's and the RAM to name a few did in the past.
The Ugly: Road construction on I-65 and the overall weather.
Also ugly: With aforementioned bad leg, trying to pivot, stop, jump, etc...when someone, usually
in the Dealers room sudden stops or turns while pulling a rickshaw sized cart or laden with one of those
Ginormous backpacks, like Patsy in The Holy Grail. A little less arrogance, or more crowd awareness from these
folks would go a long way.
Got a VRBO rental house this year. Tuesday night through Monday morning for about $1000. Three bedrooms, two pullouts sofa, two bathrooms, nice quiet neighborhood, deli grocery, gyro place and bars within a LITERAL stone's throw. VERY worth it.
Played the new Anniledghedon 2 from Cryptozoic. Took third place but they still gave me a copy and playmat to take home. Met the designer. Very awesome. He did a custom artwork card for me. Awesome squared.
Dr. Who LARP, D&D 1776, Wings of Glory, all of which I've never played before.
Hot Box Pizza, $5 a slice, decent pizza.
Math trade. Was done trading in 36 minutes.
Convention center pizza, $5 a slice, awful sauce and two pieces of meat on plywood.
Consignment hall stopped taking people in line right when I got there at 6:40 on Saturday. Guess they didn't want my money.
The heat. I'm spoiled after last year's later Gen Con date.
Giant backpacks. I have one but I don't wear it through the halls. Do you people really need to carry that much? (I only used mine for the math trade.) I tried to get into a booth for two minutes but couldn't because a pair of idiots blocked the enterance, back to back so their packs looked like a pair of western bar swinging doors.
Whoever stole my GenCon 2021 cup though I guess that's the ultimate version of "recycling".
Anyone who doesn't take cash. You know it's chemically treated to resist spreading disease. I stopped shopping your booths.
COVID! My sister tested positive right before coming down. She didn't want to spread the disease and she's probably out money.
Felt like a real GenCon again, almost.
Vax check line: I went Wednesday afternoon, took less than 5 minutes.
Finally, better pricing on items in the Auction/Consignment store.
Masks covering up sweaty smell of people
+1 to @bigfathairyguy: Large vendors with rooms outside of the dealer hall for demos
Didn't get into most games that is usually do.
@kevinrg mentioned situational awareness: 100% spot on. Especially in the dealer hall. People stopping in the middle of aisles or wearing those giant box backpacks and constantly knocking into things and people.
Mask mandate pointless in light of areas where it was not mandated, like right outside the door in the hallway. But I still wore mine anyway because I didn't want the get sick from the Crud or COVID.
No decorations in the main hallways. I really wish GenCon would put up at least a facade of a city or something.
@headless mentioned a ghost town after 700p. This was indeed very strange and disappointing, in a way.
The wait for Auction/Consignment store item check-in Wednesday morning.
The lack of space the constantly plagues the Auction/Consignment store for games AND people.
Being able to hear anything with masks covering mouths.
Not being able to return missed events for any reason as generics.
The heat, of course. But then the extreme cold, especially in the BGG hot games room. I do realize the extreme cold probably helps the stink a bit.
Indianapolis' construction issues. Between Democratic Mayor Hoggsett and Republican Governor Holcomb, the combined plans make it seem like the entire local and state governments are run by imbeciles.
Food truck lines were ridiculous, except for Island Noodles.
Game group member now has COVID (admits to not being hygienic with hands, though)
Vax line checkin Thursday: walked by this a few times, and boy was it a long one- stretched down hallways. Not sure why GenCon thought 1 little room would be able to accommodate the entirety of the Con.
@kevinrg: those yellow "bands" around lanyards were from the Games Library.
Paizo's seeming downward spiral.
Rude BGG admins in Hot Games Room.